The company is involved in the ISS development since the beginning. This long-lasting knowledge has led Thales Alenia Space to accumulate an outstanding array of capabilities and skills for the construction of manned space elements. Thales Alenia Space can now boast status as one of the major industrial players involved in the development of orbiting infrastructures and space return and transport systems.

This capability has allowed Thales Alenia Space to also become a player on the NASA programs “Commercial Orbital Transportation Services” (COTS) and “Commercial Resupply Services” (CRS), the latter aimed to deliver cargo to the International Space Station on commercial basis.
On 2008-12-23, NASA entered into contract with Orbital Sciences Corporation to utilize their vehicle - Cygnus - for cargo delivery to the International Space Station.  On June 2009 Thales Alenia Space entered in Contract with Orbital Space Science for the supply of nine Pressurized Cargo Modules for the Cygnus vehicle, one of which will be utilized in the COTS demonstration mission.

Thales Alenia Space main contribution to ISS

  • Prime contractor for the design, development, integration and testing of three Multipurpose Pressurized Logistics Modules (MPLM);
  • Prime contractor for the design, development, integration and testing of Node 2 & Node 3, along with the provision of extensive support to NASA for the final verification and launch preparation activities at Kennedy Space Center;
  • Prime contractor for the design and development, integration and testing of the Cupola observatory, leading a team of major European space industries;
  • Major contributor to the Columbus laboratory. Responsible for the definition, development and pre-integration of the entire Mechanical, Thermal, ECLSS and Harness subsystems. Main contributor for the final integration and testing phase;
  • Major contractor for the design and development, integration and testing of seven units of the Automated Transfer Vehicle “Integrated Cargo Carrier” (ATV-ICC);
  • Contractor to Orbital Sciences Corporation for the design, development, integration and testing of nine units of the Cygnus Pressurized Cargo Modules;
  • Prime contractor of the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM), a pressurized element derived from the upgrade and transformation of an MPLM unit to support more extensive ISS utilization;
  • Major contractor to ESA/EADS (through an integrated operations team set up with ASTRIUM) for the operations (e.g. Logistics Support, Engineering support, Mission Integration, etc.) of the ISS;
  • Prime Contractor for three advanced Columbus Payloads Facilities: two pressurized facilities - FSL and EDR - and one external facility - SOLAR;
  • Support of MPLM, NODE, COLUMBUS and ATV Missions through ALTEC Mission Support Center in Torino.
  • Major European communications supplier of S-band TTC for the International Space Station. Providing the proximity links of the rendezvous and dockings operations (RVD) of the unmanned spacecraft ATV (ESA) and HTV (JAXA) with the ISS and the TT&C communications links via Data Relay satellite of the ATV.